Homemade Ice Pack: 8 Best Ways To Make One

Reviewed by Dr. Archna Agrawal, MSc (Dietetics), Naturopathy
Written by Shaheen Naser

We always reach out for icepacks in case of an injury, swelling, or sprain. And it is quite usual to stock icepacks if you have an active lifestyle. However, instead of buying, you can prepare homemade icepacks easily. They are easy on the pocket, equally effective as store-bought icepacks, and soothe swelling and pain. Scroll down to learn how to prepare icepacks at home.

How To Make Homemade Ice Packs

  1. With Rice
  2. With Salt
  3. Using Hand Sanitizer
  4. With Dish Soap
  5. Alcohol Ice Pack
  6. With A Diaper
  7. Using A Wet Sponge
  8. With Corn Syrup

8 Ways To Make Homemade Ice Packs

1. White Rice

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You Will Need

  • 2-3 cups of rice grains
  • A sealable plastic bag

What You Have To Do

  1. Fill a sealable plastic bag with rice grains.
  2. Freeze for an hour.
  3. Use as necessary.

How Often You Should Do This

You can use this bag 2-3 times daily on the affected area.

Why This Works

Using rice grains to make ice packs will help the pack stay cold for longer. This can be attributed to the temperature-retaining ability of the rice grains.

2. With Salt

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You Will Need

  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • A ziplock bag

What You Have To Do

  1. Add two tablespoons of salt to two cups of water and wait for the salt to dissolve.
  2. Pour this solution into a ziplock bag and freeze it for a few hours.

How Often You Should Do This

You can use this pack on the affected area daily.

Why This Works

If you don’t want an ice pack that is rock solid, adding some salt to the water pack before refrigerating it helps in making it more moldable.

3. Using Hand Sanitizer

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You Will Need

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix one part of a hand sanitizer with three parts of water.
  2. Freeze this mixture for a few hours and use as required.
  3. Avoid any contact with your eyes.

How Often You Should Do This

You can apply this pack to the affected area multiple times daily by refreezing after every use.

Why This Works

Hand sanitizers contain alcohol, which can impart a gel-like consistency to the ice pack.

Caution

Hand sanitizers are highly inflammable. Hence, make sure that the sanitizer doesn’t leak out from the pack while in use.

4. With Dish Soap

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You Will Need

  • 1-2 cups of dish soap
  • A ziplock freezer bag

What You Have To Do

  1. Pour one to two cups of dish soap into a ziplock freezer bag.
  2. Freeze the content for a couple of hours.
  3. Use as and when necessary on the affected area.

How Often You Should Do This

You can use this pack multiple times daily.

Why This Works

This is another amazing homemade ice pack that is moldable. This pack is a great alternative to rock-solid ice packs.

5. Alcohol Ice Pack

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You Will Need

  • 1 cup of rubbing alcohol
  • 2 cups of water
  • A plastic freezer bag

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix a cup of rubbing alcohol with two cups of water.
  2. Pour the solution into a plastic ziplock freezer bag.
  3. Freeze the pack for a few hours.
  4. Avoid contact with your eyes.

How Often You Should Do This

You can apply this pack 2-3 times on the affected area. Refrigerate after every use.

Why This Works

Rubbing alcohol doesn’t allow the water to turn brick solid. Hence, you can get your own slushy ice pack that is not too hard on your skin by adding rubbing alcohol to water.

Caution

Since rubbing alcohol is highly inflammable, take extra care to ensure it doesn’t leak out of the pack.

[ Read: 10 Best Pain Relieving Products ]

6. With A Diaper

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You Will Need

  • An unused diaper
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of rubbing alcohol

What You Have To Do

  1. Take a clean diaper and spread it open.
  2. Pour a cup of rubbing alcohol inside the diaper along with one to two cups of water.
  3. Roll the wet diaper tightly into a small bundle.
  4. Freeze this for a couple of hours.
  5. Use as per your requirement.
  6. Avoid using it on your eyes.

How Often You Should Do This

You can use this multiple times daily on the affected areas of your body.

Why This Works

The flexibility of diapers makes them better than other ice packs as you can use them anywhere on your body quite conveniently (be it wrapping the pack around your finger or spreading it on your tummy).

Caution

Refreeze immediately after use to prevent the alcohol and water mixture from melting. Alcohol is inflammatory, and care must be taken while using it.

7. Using A Wet Sponge

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You Will Need

  • A clean sponge
  • Running water
  • A plastic ziplock freezer bag

What You Have To Do

  1. Run a clean sponge under water.
  2. Allow it to soak completely.
  3. Transfer the damp sponge to the ziplock freezer bag.
  4. Freeze for a few hours.
  5. Apply it to the affected area and refrigerate after use.

How Often You Should Do This

You can use this multiple times on the affected area if you refrigerate it after every use.

Why This Works

If you are looking for a quick way to making an ice pack, a frozen wet sponge will do the trick. As the water melts, the sponge reabsorbs it, making this pack effective for a long time.

8. With Corn Syrup

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You Will Need

  • 1-2 cups of corn syrup
  • A ziplock freezer bag

What You Have To Do

  1. Pour one to two cups of corn syrup into a ziplock freezer bag.
  2. Freeze the bag for a few hours.
  3. Apply the pack on the affected body part.
  4. Refrigerate after every use.

How Often You Should Do This

You can do this multiple times daily or as per your requirement.

Ice packs can help minimize muscle pain and reduce swelling associated with injury. Homemade ice packs are easy to prepare and effectively soothe minor injuries. There are different ways to prepare an ice pack, and you can make ice packs with rice, salt, alcohol, dish soap, corn syrup, and hand sanitizer. Choose your favorite ingredients to make these ice packs. In addition, wrap a towel around the bag to protect your skin from ice burns.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do gel ice packs take to freeze?

Ice packs usually take anywhere between 1-2 hours to freeze.

How long do gel ice packs last?

At room temperature or while being used, a gel ice pack can last for 3-4 hours.

How are gel packs better than ice?

One of the main reasons a gel pack is better than a solid ice pack is due to its physical nature. Ice packs are rock solid and could be hard on the affected area, whereas, the gel packs are much more flexible and softer.

How does salt make ice last longer?

Adding salt to your ice pack lowers the freezing temperature of the water. Hence, salt water is colder than fresh water and also takes longer to melt in its frozen state.

Are the ingredients used in ice packs toxic?

Some ice packs may contain chemicals like ammonium nitrate and ethylene glycol that can be harmful to the body in case they leak out of the pack.

Key Takeaways

  • Homemade ice packs are pocket-friendly and come in handy when you suffer an injury or sprain.
  • You can use a few simple ingredients from your pantries, such as rice, salt, and a ziplock bag, to create ice packs that can be applied to the affected area.
  • You can also use dish soap or alcohol and freeze it in the refrigerator for use.
  • However, exercise caution when using these ingredients as they are flammable.

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Dr. Archna Agrawal

(MSc (Dietetics))
Dr. Archna Agrawal is a licensed naturopathy and yoga practitioner with over 20 years of experience in nutrition and counseling.... more

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